No, it's not because of the presents that I will receive! In fact, that is probably the least favorite part of the holidays for me because I allow the pressure of finding the perfect gifts way too much importance in my preparations. But the reason this happens is because those who will receive the presents are the most important people in my life and I want them to know that what they receive has been the result of my doing my very best to find those things which I truly think they will enjoy. But, sometimes I just can't come up with ideas for presents that represent how important and loved a person is to me. Therefore, I am so glad that there are lots of other things about the holidays that make them so special.
I love the holiday lights. Everywhere you go, the darkness is lit up with the most colorful strings of lights and decorations imaginable. You know that every single display whether big or small was done because someone else also appreciates the sharing of the holidays with others. The lights put a smile on my face and create the most amazing expressions on the faces of children of all ages. And as I drive down the streets in my city, the lights give them a feeling of magic and warmth that could never be achieved in any other way and I know that others are feeling the same way.
The Christmas tree is another of my favorite things. The tree that we have is filled with ornaments that were collected starting when I was still very young and to which I add something new every year that will continue to include the Christmases that my husband and I spend together. When the tree is up and the lights are on it, as those ornaments are unpacked one by one, I remember not only all of those special past holidays but also those with whom I shared those times who are not here to share this year. Those ornaments help to keep them a part of the celebrations forever.
Then there are the holiday cards. In addition to receiving these festive greetings in the mail, it is so nice to have a special reminder from those who continue to let us know that we are thought of and remembered even though they are far away. In a time that is marked by emails and e-cards, the knowledge that someone selected and hand-addressed a personal card for us and sent it along to wish us the best of the holidays is such a delight.
Of course, the holiday cookies and treats must also be included. Even though I don't bake my own cookies any longer, whenever I see those special holiday cookies, I am reminded of the times when the entire family gathered together in the kitchen to roll out, cut, decorate and bake enough cookies to not only last us through the holidays and beyond but also to share with others that were important enough to receive them as a gift. A butter cookie in the shape of a tree or star that has been decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles will always touch me in a very special way.
But, most of all, what I love about the holidays is the time that is spent with family and friends and co-workers in the get-togethers that are unlike any others that occur during the year. The spirit of the season comes through as people take the time to gather and talk with one another and share what is happening in other's lives. People linger over a glass of wine and some hors d'oeuvres or share a meal with no thoughts of rushing off to do something else or be somewhere else. Food and drinks are consumed at a leisurely pace and before you know it, many hours have passed and you are just so relaxed and enjoying that sharing in the moment that you just don't want it to end. And even if you say that you will get together before the next holiday season, you know that you may not do so and even if you do, the time spent will never be as relaxing and special as those that occur at the holidays.
So, my wish is that everyone has many, many magical moments this holiday season whether experienced alone or shared with others. I hope that the lights bring a special illumination to your hearts and spirits. I hope that the time that you spend with others takes on a very special feeling of sharing and caring that is representative of this special time of the year. And my greatest hope of all is that you have the best holiday season ever.